Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Benefits and Small Business

hi everyone - hope someone can give me some advice re running a small business and disability benefits.
i had a life-changing change of circumstances 5 years ago, which left me in a position where I could no longer carry out “normal” paid employment. I’m in a wheelchair, am incontinent, am in constant pain, and need several “power naps” a day to support me.
however I have had a hobby for the last 10 years, which I decided to turn into a small business, rather than claim benefits.
but given time, I now find I need to claim benefits (notably ESA, housing benefit, and Carers Allowance) but although my hours worked are qualifying, the fact that I earn under the minimum wage has caused me problems.
from what I can gather they will want me to either earn more (not feasible given the hours I can manage), or give up the business and go into paid employment (not feasible given my limitations above) or stop work altogether (don’t wish to do so - would rather keep busy)
can anyone offer me any advice please ? 
Many thanks 


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    I'm assuming you don't already claim ESA? If you don't and you've paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years then you'll be able to claim New style contributions based ESA or contributions based ESA, same benefit, different name depending on if your area is a full Universal credit area. Check here.

    If you haven't paid enough NI contributions then you won't be able to claim the above. If your area is a full universal credit area then you'll have to claim UC but this will depend on household income. Housing benefit is part of UC if your area is a full UC area.

    You don't say if you live with a partner that works or live by yourself? Do you claim DLA/PIP?

    Carers allowance can only be claimed if you're looking after someone for at least 35 hours per week and they're claiming a qualifying benefit such as DLA/PIP or Attendance allowance.

    I'd advise a visit to your local CAB for a full benefits check.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
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